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Folks Of Interest When did you first go to the drags, who do you remember from "the day"??

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Gary Reynolds, Jun 29, 2017.

  1. paul55
    Joined: Dec 1, 2010
    Posts: 3,490

    from michigan

    Late 60's, Detroit Dragway and mostly remember EJ Potter.
    Montana1 likes this.
  2. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,888

    from Colorado

    1953 or ‘54..Paradise Mesa. Bean Bandits
  3. Mark Hysong
    Joined: Dec 4, 2016
    Posts: 28

    Mark Hysong

    1962 Muncie Dragway My dad and his friend raced a ford 406 in SS/S. i thought i'd died and got to heaven. Saw Garlets, TV Tommy, Arfons and EJ Potter. Life was good for this 9 year old.
  4. The 70s in Mooresville, NC, and saw Socks and Martin run.
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  5. Bert Kollar
    Joined: Jan 10, 2007
    Posts: 1,109

    Bert Kollar

    1954 Akron Drag Strip Joe Martincic fastest nitro Flat head dragster12.20 Art Arfons first Green Monster Otie Smith T gasser It was a lot of run what ya brung and fun. We took a home made sports car with a '49 Cad two barrel and beat a Mercedes 300SL
    vetteguy402 likes this.
  6. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 6,867



    We were very lucky to have grown up in the Westside of Long Beach. It was close to the ocean and harbors, the schools were walking distance to our house, in high school, a short drive away for daily driving and located nearby was Bixby Knolls, the hot bed of hot rodding in our neck of the woods. (there were some woods in Long Beach…)

    But, the neatest thing was that we were only a mile or so away from the Lions Dragstrip as the wind blows. (There are others here on the HAMB that were actually closer to Lions, like just around the corner…) After we purchased the last Long Beach house, Lions opened up two years later.

    By the time we were able to actually go to the drags, we met countless drag racers, hung around several other teams/crews in the pits, enjoyed the famous hot dogs/cokes and were introduced to some of the top racers on the West Coast. They were our own competition and the other class racers.
    One of the most unusual we met was Joe Mailliard. He seemed so busy with the race cars in his group that he never had the time to stand around and chat. But, for most, he made the time, as it was a sort of a promotion for his famous speed shop. Speaking about his speed shop, we found out that it was just three blocks from our Westside house. So, from the first time we met him, it was always a short bicycle ride (then car ride) to his shop.



    The nice thing about him was that he always made time for just about anyone that came to his shop. At the drags, he was serious with his shop sponsored builds and race cars. The most famous being the sleek Sidewinder, rear engine race car. If anyone was standing near the Sidewinder upon starting, the whine of the motor was very impressive. When the rear engine race car moved past you, the whine of the chain drive and big Hemi was totally awe-inspiring. It was ahead of its time and won a lot of races in its history.
    A rare, rear spoiler removed, Sidewinder photo

    Real Sidewinder SOUND from 1959

    There were countless other Joe Mailliard sponsored race cars, including the famous, purple altered 1932 Ford Vicky sedan from the Vulcans Car Club.
    upload_2019-3-30_4-42-34.png Vulcans Car Club 2017 Lions Museum
    upload_2019-3-30_4-43-7.png upload_2019-3-30_4-43-26.png 1960 Lions Dragstrip

    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019
  7. bschwoeble
    Joined: Oct 20, 2008
    Posts: 779


    1960. My brother-in-law took me and two buddies to Erie, PA. Presque Isle Timing Association (PITA). My buddies and I were fourteen. It was a points meet. George Montgomery, Gabby Bleeker, Joe Hrudka, Eddie Shartmann. I had been to dirt track races. After seeing drag cars and all the chrome, nice paint, and no dirt or mud and banged up bodies, I was hooked.
  8. 2935ford
    Joined: Jan 6, 2006
    Posts: 3,731


    1963 Lions Drag Strip. The noise and smell!
  9. bigheadbaxter
    Joined: Feb 18, 2007
    Posts: 229


    It was late 70’s. I went with my childhood friend and his father Gary Smith owner operator of Allen Auto & Supply (Allen Tx)
    And standing over the Green Valley strip on the catwalk. I was wearing a white t- shirt and remember seeing these black specs thinking what is this and realizing it was rubber. And the smell forever implanted in my memory [​IMG]

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    Joined: Nov 3, 2018
    Posts: 44

    from kansas

    Im pretty young so I missed out on the gory days of drag racing. My first trip to a drag strip was at KCIR in maybe 2004 or something like that (middle school age) for the nostalgia drags. Got to see gassers and front engine dragsters. Finally got to see an example of what my father always explained "back in the day" was like, And it was awesome. Been hooked on wanting to build a gasser style car ever since.
    pmdguy likes this.
  11. Doug B
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 478

    Doug B

    I grew up in a real small town, like 250 people, but there was an 1/8 mile drag strip about 3 miles from my house. Dad took me once or twice, sometimes my brother would take me, or I would ride my bike. Started going in about 67...I would have been 10. Nobody famous ran there but a lot of hometown heroes.
    I took the pic of the 57 when I was 11 years old.Same guy still owns it. He's 82 ow and brigs it out to local car shows.
    The Comet was a factory B/FX car,(running gas class because there were no other FX cars around) bought by 2 brothers who lived down the road from me. I was told it was one of 3 built with an injected 289.
    Flying Farmer.JPG Scarlet Fever 2.jpg
    57 300 likes this.
  12. Boss 302 Mustang
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 57

    Boss 302 Mustang
    from Duxbury MA

    Island Dragway..........Big Daddy Don Garlits match race with the Frantic 4.......Garlits' chute failed on I think the second round and he ran off the end of the strip, wrecking a car he had just sold!
  13. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 6,867



    Over our hot rod/drag race history, we have met and known many wonderful people in those early years. From our junior high school years through our teenage high school cruising/racing days. From teenage hot rod builders, speed shop owners, drag racers and of course our high school friends from those tedious classes we all had to take.

    Mert Littlefield was in several of my high school classes. We were in the Autoshop, Metal Shop and others that don’t stand out as well as the mechanical tech classes. We both like hot rods and drag racing. He was someone with a lot of hot rod skills, but, was for me, a quiet person that was a friend to everyone. His welding skills made mine look like a beginner, until I kept at it until I could get a good bead for strength. But, welding was not for me in the future as I could not see what I was doing, using the standard dark protection shield glasses.
    As all sorts of friends come and go during the years of high school, we were all impressed that many years later, he became well known in the field of drag racing and supercharging. His history in hot rods and funny cars started it for him. We did not know him during our foray into stock car racing with the Impala or the 1940 671 SBC Willys, B/Gas & C/Gas racing days. But, when looking at editions of Drag News, the OC papers, or the various magazines later on in life, his name popped up frequently.


    Maybe had he started his drag racing career a bit earlier, or in our next phase, if there was going to be a next phase back then, a cool Littlefield Supercharger would have played a big part in our future build.
    Thanks, M...
    Sky Six likes this.
  14. 1957 Santa Ana, 11 years old and on the way home from a weekend at grandma's in Laguna Beach. My dad headed up McArthur Blvd. toward the San Gabriel valley on Sunday afternoon and noticed a lot of activity by the airfield so he turned in; big mistake on his part. No admission late in the day, open headers, roadsters, motor cycles...I was sold. The first race where I new who was who was at Riverside, February 1959. I saw Art Chrisman, Jack Chrisman (in the sidewinder), Bobby Langley and quite possibly Red Greth and the speedsport roadster. Followed up with Bakersfield in March, (thank heavens my best friend had an older brother with a '38 Ford coupe that wanted to go.)
  15. glrbird
    Joined: Dec 20, 2010
    Posts: 574


    I was pretty young, maybe around mid 1950's, My dad and me went to a local track at a closed airport in Corpus Christi Texas. Cuddihy field old Navy base. I saw my first Dragster "The Glass Slipper" It really stuck in my mind. My Dad was a circle track racer, so I had never seen this type of racing. One other car was a dragster the had a sedan body on it and the rear wheels were inside the body. We were at the finish line when it came threw, ran off the side of the track and took down a small speaker pole which creased the top right down the middle of the roof. Best Day Ever!!

    Note: I now believe the dragster may have been Bobby Langley’s Scorpion, being He was from Texas. But my 70 year old brain remembers a canopy cover.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2020
  16. pmdguy
    Joined: Dec 4, 2011
    Posts: 60


    My first time at a drag strip was 1976, I was 12 years old and got to go with a neighborhood friend who's older brothers both raced first gen Camaros. I was officially bit by the drag racing bug on that day! This was at Lawrence Dragway in Lawrence Kansas. The track closed in 1986 I believe. In later years I saw Don Garlits there, as well as a couple of jet funny cars that blew the privacy fence over when they left the line! Actually raced there myself a few times myself before it closed. Now the area has all been developed into business' and housing, a good portion of the track still exist today if you know where to look. Sacred ground!!
  17. Road Racer
    Joined: Jan 29, 2017
    Posts: 43

    Road Racer

    Early 70s, 73-4? Thompsons and Dragway 42 in Ohio. Dad ran a pretty stock 68 GTO and a 72 RS Camaro. I remember trying to stay awake for the evenings big show, the dragster vs. Funny Car finale! Later, in Ca, OCIR and 64 Funny Cars. I would beg to go, then slave labor would result in me doing yard work to earn it!
  18. 1967 at Castlereagh Drag Strip in outer Sydney Australia.
    E. J. Potter was there as well as Wild Bill Shrewsbury.
    I will never forget the night and cherish it.
    This was the night the first sub 8 second pass was made in Australia.
  19. Boodlum
    Joined: Dec 19, 2007
    Posts: 353


    1962 at Caddo Mills TX. Track was old WW2 auxiliary airfield built so flight trainees that got lost might find a place to land.
    Memories - Bobby Langley and his "Scorpion" dragster and iirc Marion Owens and his double engine Harley- Davidson drag motor. "Hands" may have been there that day.
    Stock cars ran 5-6 abreast at the same time and flagman looked for the safest slot to stand.
    Just for the hell of it ran a 1962 Pontiac for a couple races. Lost interest in "drag" racing and went road racing instead. Much more fun.

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